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If then your valour can the fright sustain
Of rattling curtains and the clinking chain,
If your courageous tongue has power to talk,
When round your bed the horrid ghoft fhall walk
If you dare ask it, why it leaves its tomb,
I'll fee your sheets well air'd, and fhow the room.
Soon as the frighted maid her tale had told,
The ftranger enter'd, for his heart was bold.
The damfel led him through a fpacious hall,
Where ivy hung the half-demolish'd wall;
She frequent look'd behind, and chang'd her hue,
While fancy tipt the candle's flame with blue.
And now they gain'd the winding stairs ascent,
And to the lonesome room of terrors went.
When all was ready swift retir'd the maid,
The watch-lights burn, tuckt warm in bed was laid
The hardy ftranger, and attends the sprite
'Till his accuftom'd walk at dead of night.
At first he hears the wind with hollow roar Shake the loose lock, and fwing the creaking door; Nearer and nearer draws the dreadful found Of rattling chains, that dragg'd upon the ground: When lo, the fpectre came with horrid ftride, Approach'd the bed, and drew the curtains wide; Io human form the ghaftful phantom flood, Expos'd his mangled bosom dy'd with blood, Then filent pointing to his wounded breast, Thrice wav'd his hand. Beneath his frighted guest, The bed cords trembled, and with fhudd'ring fear, Sweat chill'd his limbs, high rofe his briftled hair; Then mutt'ring hafty pray'rs, he mann'd his heart, And cry'd aloud; Say, whence and who thou art ? The ftalking ghoft with hollow voice replies, Three years are counted, fince with mortal eyes I faw the fun, and vital air refpir'd. Like thee benighted, and with travel tir'd, Within these walls I flept. O thirft of gain! See ftill the planks the bloody marks retain ; Stretch'd on this very bed, from fleep I start, And see the steel impending o'er my heart; The barb'rous hoftefs held the lifted knife, The floor ran purple with my gushing life.
My treasure now they feize, the golden fpoil
They bury deep beneath the grafs-grown foil,
Far in the common field. Be bold, arife,
My steps fhall lead thee to thy fecret prize;
There dig and find; let that thy care reward:
Call loud on juftice, bid her not retard
To punish murder; lay my ghoft at reft,
So fhall with peace fecure thy nights be bleft;
And when beneath these boards my bones are found,
Decent inter them in fome facred ground.
Here ceas'd the ghoft. The stranger fprings from bed,
And boldly follows where the phantom led;
The half worn ftony ftairs they now defcend,
Where paffages obfcure their arches bend,
Silent they walk; and now through groves they pass,
Now through wet meads their steps imprint the grass;
At length amidst a spacious field they came:
There ftops the spectre, and afcends in flame.
Amaz'd he food, no bush, nor briar was found,
To teach his morning search to find the ground;
What could he do? the night was hideous dark,
Fear fhook his joints, and nature dropt the MARK;
With that he starting wak'd, and rais'd his head,
But found the golden MARK was left in bed.
Of FABLE S.
HE Fable differs little from the Tale, except in this, that it is allegorical, and generally introduces animals, and things inanimate, as perfons difcourfing together, and delivering Precepts for the improvement of mankind.
This fpecies of compofition was invented, we may fuppofe, to convey truth in an indirect manner, and under feigned characters, in cafes where to speak plainly, and directly to the purpose, might not be fo fafe or fo effec
tual. We find this ufe made of it even in the Holy Scriptures. Jotham's parable of the trees in the ninth. chapter of Judges is a kind of Fable, as is alfo that of Nathan's poor man and his lamb; which, as Mr. Addifon obferves, conveyed instruction to the ear of a king without offence, and brought David to a proper fenfe of his guilt, and of his duty. Æsop, we may suppose, read his lectures in this manner as well for the fake of fafety, as to make them more agreeable; and we are told that in the beginning of the Roman Commonwealth, a mutiny was appeased, and the incensed rabble reduced to reason, by a Fable of the belly and the limbs; when a man would have been torn in pieces, perhaps, who had preached the fame doctrine to them in any other manner.
It is always expected that these compofitions fhould inculcate fome moral, or useful leffon, for when deficient in this respect, they are of little, or no value.-Take an example from Mr. GAY.
The JUGGLERS. AFABLE. By Mr. GAY.
A JUGGLER long through all the town
Had rais'd his fortune and renown;
You'd think (fo far his art tranfcends)
The devil at his fingers ends.
Vice heard his fame, the read his bill;
Convinc'd of his inferior skill,
She fought his booth, and from the crowd
Defy'd the man of art aloud.
Is this then he fo fam'd for flight,
Can this flow bungler cheat your fight,
Dares he with me difpute the prize?
I leave it to impartial eyes.
Provok'd, the juggler cry'd, 'tis done.
In fcience I fubmit to none.
'Thus faid, the cups and balls he play'd;
By turns, this here, that there, convey'd ;
The cards obedient to his words,
Are by a fillip turn'd to birds;
His little boxes change the grain,
Trick after trick deludes the train.
He shakes his bag, he shows all fair,
His fingers fpread, and nothing there.
Then bids it rain with fhowers of gold,
And now his iv'ry eggs are told.
But when from thence the hen he draws,
Amaz'd fpectators hum applaufe.
Vice now ftept forth and took the place
With all the forms of his grimace.
This magick looking glafs, the cries,
(There, hand it round) will charm your eyes :
Each eager eye the fight defir'd,
And ev'ry man himself admir'd.
Next, to a fenator addreffing;.
See this Bank-note; obferve the bleffing;
Breathe on the bill, Heigh, pass! 'Tis gone.
Upon his lips a padlock fhone.
A fecond puff the magick broke,
The padlock vanifh'd, and he spoke.
Twelve bottles rang'd upon the board,
All full, with heady liquor ftor'd,
By clean conveyance disappear,
And now too bloody fwords are there.
A purfe fhe to the thief expos'd;
At once his ready fingers clos'd;
opes his fift, the treasures fled;
He fees a halter in its ftead.
She bids ambition hold a wand,
He grafps a hatchet in his hand.
A box of charity she shows:
Blow here, and a church warden blows
'Tis vanish'd with conveyance neat,
And on the table fmokes a treat.
She thakes the dice, the board fhe knocks. And from all pockets fills her box.
She next a meager rake addreft
This picture fee; her fhape, her breast!
What youth, and what inviting eyes!
Hold her, and have her. With furprife,
His hand expos'd a box of pills;
And a loud laugh proclaim'd his ills.
A counter, in a mifer's hand,
Grew twenty guineas at command;
She bids his heir the fum retain,
And 'tis a counter now again.
A guinea with a touch you fee
Take ev'ry fhape but Charity;
And not one thing you faw, or drew,
But chang'd from what was first in view.
The juggler now, in grief of heart,
With this fubmiffion own'd her art.
Can I fuch matchless flight withstand ?
How practice hath improv'd your hand!
But now and then I cheat the throng;
You ev'ry day, and all day long.
Mr. Moore has convey'd a very useful and important leffon to the ladies, and reprefented difagreeable truths in a pleasing manner, by the following Fable.
The POET and his PATRON. A Fable. By Mr. MOORE.
Why, Calia, is your spreading waift
So loofe, fo negligently lac'd?
Why must the wrapping bed-gown hide,
Your fnowy bofom's fwelling pride?
How ill that drefs adorns your head,
Diftain'd, and rumpled from the bed!
Those clouds, that fhade your blooming face,
A little water might difplace,
As nature every morn beftows,
The crystal dew, to cleanse the rose.
Those treffes, as the raven black
That wav'd in ringlets down your back,
Uncomb'd, and injur'd by neglect,
Deftroy the face, which once they deck'd.
Whence this forgetfulness of drefs?
Pray, madam, are you marry'd? Yes.
Nay, then indeed the wonder ceases,
No matter now how loose your dress is;
The end is won, your fortune's made,
Your fifter now may take the trade.
Alas! what pity 'tis to find
This fault in half the female kind!